Making and Keeping Covenant
John 17:11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be ONE as we are ONE.
Making covenant is how two come together and become ONE. This is at the heart of our human marriage covenant and wedding vows and is also an allegory on how we make covenant with God. A covenant by all dictionaries I checked is a solemn promise or an agreement to do or not do something with another party. The key aspect of a covenant is that there are TWO parties involved. What is promised by each side may or may not be reciprocal yet what is required by each party is subject to the conditions of the covenant. Here is an oft overlooked covenant verse.
Romans 6:5 If we have been UNITED with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be UNITED with him in his resurrection
We enter into covenant with God when we meet the conditions of His covenant. His conditions are that we believe in His Son, which means we are to follow the Lord being led by His Spirit. God did not have to offer covenant to us, so from that perspective it is a gift. Just like with Abraham, God came to Abraham with the deal, Abraham did not go to God. The LORD chooses us, we do not choose Him. Yet still we must make covenant and then keep that covenant to attain to God’s great and precious covenant promises. The devil has poured water on the truth and perverted the truth about God’s covenant. I hope to shed some light back towards the truth with this my first post on this deep topic.
Did you know that every time we go take communion or break bread with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are renewing our covenant vows to God. This is a covenant meal so to speak. At the “last supper”, Jesus gave us the example.
Matthew 26 - Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Our Lord’s death on the cross ushered in the era of the new covenant. Many Christians take a wonderful verse of Scripture like this one and think covenant is a one way deal. Parts of the Scriptures are selectively woven together into a teaching that Christ’s death and shed blood automatically covers all of our sins without conditions. But there is a whole lot more Scripture that is being overlooked. Making covenant with God or anyone for that matter is a two-way deal. Making and keeping covenant with God is what following Jesus really means and is how we remain under God’s protection and are saved from His wrath.
Amos 3:3 says two or more people cannot walk together unless they are agreed. God says through His Word, that He will, if you will. He died for us and we need to die for Him. Making covenant embodies the exchanging of positions, strengths and weaknesses. Jesus exchanged His spiritual realm for the image and likeness of a fleshly man. Likewise we exchange our fleshly nature for a spiritual or divine nature that God provides. Make no mistake, to make covenant, two must actively participate and men must die. Jesus died, we need to die, as we are plainly shown in Hebrews.
Hebrews 9:16-18 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.
God is very serious about covenant. Covenant is a word loosely tossed around in Christian circles. The covenant God made with His people is correctly used as the basis for salvation and accompanying freedom we have in Christ Jesus. The problem is that what is required to make a covenant has been cut out from the truth using twisted clichés such as “it is finished”. God Almighty is a God of Covenant. The Holy Scriptures define several instances where God made covenant with His chosen people. This covenant was not with everyone, but only for those God chose in His timing and His sovereignty. It is essential for a walk of holiness on the narrow road to salvation that we understand how to make and keep covenant with God. Deceivers have sprung forth just as the Scriptures tells us that have perverted God’s Words about covenant and the resulting errors is leading many sheep astray and has put them on the broad road leading to destruction.
Jesus is in a covenant relationship with the Father. We have access to the Father only thru Jesus, He is our only mediator with the Father. To partake in “their” covenant we must make covenant with Jesus. We enter into covenant with the LORD when we believe and decide to follow Jesus. Jesus tells us that we must go the cross and die as He died. This is denying ourselves, carrying our cross and crucifying our old man or flesh. That is how we are born again of the Spirit of God and that is how we enter into covenant. We must be Born Again to see and to enter the Kingdom of God. When we become a holy and living sacrifice unto the Lord, God takes over and He leads us into all righteousness. Those in covenant relationship with God are the sons of the God and they are led by the Holy Spirit which is given to those that obey God. This is not works, it is letting the spirit lead us. This is true faith, trusting in God to do what He said He would do. This is what Abraham believed.
A lot fewer people are in covenant with God than think they are. Many have followed after the teachings of men and doctrines of demons that say we don’t have to die or suffer. Covenant and the true gospel has been totally perverted from the gospel handed down and first entrusted to the saints. Jesus said I will die for you if you will die for me. The cost of following Him is steep, Jesus said it would cost us everything.
Luke 14:33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
Luke 9:24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
True friends make covenant. They make their needs and wants subservient to the other. Are you a friend of Jesus? God demands your whole heart, not just a piece of it. Have you made covenant with Him? This is what Jesus said about friends and what Godly love, the lovingkindness of Scripture, is all about.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command.
Flesh doesn’t want to make covenant and man’s religion teaches it is not necessary. Dying to self is hard, there is a price to be paid. Many of the early disciples and followers of Jesus, turned away when presented with this requirement.
John 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood (i.e. MAKES COVENANT) has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
We don’t get to eat off the tree of life and abide in the vine of Christ until we make covenant. Making covenant is a whole lot more involved than going to church or simply believing Jesus was the Son of God and died on a cross. Even demons believe that and they shudder. If you read the whole John 6 context you will see that even the Apostles called this a “hard teaching”. Yet the Apostles remained faithful to Jesus despite the fact many other disciples turned away and stopped following Jesus.
John 6:66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him
The fallen away Christians that believe the false gospel will violently oppose the truth. But they have walked away from Christ just as these disciples did. They were unwilling to pay the price and instead believe they can put on a religious facade and do all kinds of good deeds and have that be a substitute for making covenant thru the death of their old man.
Making covenant also means there is an exchange of strength and weapons between the parties. God takes on our weaknesses and we get His strength thru the power of the Holy Spirit. By making covenant, we gain access to the weapons of God and are given all authority and power over the enemy and nothing by any means shall harm us. But if we don’t make covenant, we cannot put on these weapons on and we are no match for the enemy while walking in the flesh. Where there is practice of sin, there is no power of the Holy Spirit and that defines the sorry state of the Church today, where God can no longer do anything. There is a lot more to say in this area of weapons and power of the Spirit, but I need to save it for future posts.
Making covenant is the first step but we cannot stop there, we must actually keep the covenant we make. That is how we overcome and endure to the very end. A Covenant cannot be annulled, but it can not be kept by the free will decision of the ones that made it. God is faithful to us always and will never leave or forsake us, but many have forsaken God and have not kept the covenant they once made. The Scriptures are chock full of warnings and judgment about people who did not keep the covenant. God has never changed the rules for keeping covenant.
KEEPING COVENANT: BLESSINGS
Keeping covenant is really very simple. It is obeying God’s commandments from a pure heart.
John 15:10 Jesus said If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
Jesus showed us the way. He obeyed the Father. We obey Him. That is how we become ONE by walking together in agreement. When we disobey and practice sin, we are not in agreement with God, we are breaking covenant. Our covenant God brings blessings to us when we keep covenant but also brings curses and judgment when we break covenant. Jesus coming did nothing to change God’s rules on covenant keeping and the associated consequences.
Let’s look at several examples of this in Scripture. Notice all the IF/THEN conditions for receiving the blessings of God.
Exodus 19:5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments
Nehemiah 1:5 I said, “I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments
Psalm 132:12 IF your sons will keep My covenant and My testimony which I will teach them,
their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever
Jesus is the New Covenant. He is the author of salvation to all that obey Him. Jesus told us that very few professing believers would actually be saved and enter into His Kingdom. It is easy to see that very few professing Christians have made covenant with God. They walk, talk and act just like the world and their hearts and minds are not focused on God. I know as this was me and I am working my way out of this with fear and trembling.
The Jesus many know, is an idol; a god of wood and hay that does not answer prayers or protect them in their time of need. Many others have at one time made covenant with God but since then have been enticed back into the world and overcome by the deceitfulness of sins. They have fallen away from a true faith and sadly are not once saved always saved as they may believe. They have a false security and a false peace that will suddenly be changed to horror we are told. When we fail to keep covenant with God, the LORD gets angry and brings curses and judgment upon the rebellious. If they do not repent and return, the disobedient will forfeit the precious promises of God and like Lot’s wife, will be destroyed. This is the righteous judgment of God.
Despite this sorry state of Christianity and the church, the good news, is that God is faithful. We cannot break a covenant, we can only choose not to keep it. It is our free will rebellion that leads some to not keep covenant but that same free will can be turned around and we can once again walk in covenant with the LORD.
He has not left us, we have left Him. We are told throughout that IF we turn back to Him, we are welcomed back just like the prodigal son. But to play with sin we risk hardening our hearts past the point of repentance and He comes very quickly and the door of mercy will close.
People that want to dismiss the fear of God as front and center to walking in covenant, don’t get it. Without this fear, we are sitting ducks for an enemy to come in and deceive us and pour water on the truth and bring forth an image of God that is false. The fear of God is a VERY GOOD THING, as it helps us to keep covenant and walk the narrow road that leads to life.
Jeremiah 32 - I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40“I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.
Many Have Made The Wrong Covenant
1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
We cannot eat from the table of the LORD and the table of Demons – yet many are doing just that. That is what the harlots, the double minded and the carnal Christians of the fallen away church do. They want to serve two masters and are encouraged to do so. This brings the judgment and wrath of God as it insults the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 11:27 – Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. …… For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.
Paul wrote warnings in all his letters to the early church and body of believers to warn them of the snare of the enemy. Selfish ambition and religious pride have been used to entice many into religion and counting numbers in congregations. The fallen church has elevated fellowship with others above the clear and persistent call to come out and be separate. Fellowship is good and is to be encouraged but it must be the right kind of fellowship. Jesus told us to go out into the WORLD to make disciples. The WORLD is outside of the CHURCH. Once someone becomes a disciple, then and only then are they to be immersed in fellowship with the brothers and sisters of Christ. Satan’s church is the one that mixes and is not separated. When you get congregations boasting about huge numbers yet 85% of them are walking after their flesh and openly practicing sin, God is not pleased. Jesus builds the church not men.
2 Corinthians 6:14 – Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
The fallen church of these end times, Babylon the Great is run and led by demons. The Bible tells us that in all the Prophets and in the Book of Revelation. These are the spirits of the antichrist and the men they work thru are the false prophets/teachers spoken about in Revelation 13 and that Jesus said would come to successfully deceive many Christians. We have ignored the devil and as a result many are supping with the enemy and an entire religious system has been established that is deceiving the entire world.
Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing
Ezekiel 44:6-8 You shall say to the rebellious ones, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Enough of all your abominations, O house of Israel, 7when you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to profane it, even My house, when you offered My food, the fat and the blood; for they made My covenant void–this in addition to all your abominations. 8“And you have not kept charge of My holy things yourselves, but you have set foreigners to keep charge of My sanctuary.”Much of Christianity and very many churches mixed with the world, inviting and accommodating sin and making covenant with the devil and his demons.
Fallen fallen is Babylon, the church of today. It has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison that keeps Christians in bondage to Satan. Since sin has not been purged there is little power in the church thru the Spirit. God does not change, He does not move to where we go. We must return to Him and not continue to build churches and doctrine that further pervert the truth and define an image of God that is really the image of the beast. Jesus came to set the captives free yet many in their ignorance have fallen right into the snare of the enemy’s deception.
Exodus 23:31 I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you